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Shiitake Mushroom/Duck/Sugar Maple Forest Polyculture- PDF  RSS feed

 
Cj Sloane
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Here's the PDF
Abstract
Log-grown shiitake mushrooms are a growing interest of many Northeast Farmers.
Barriers to entering the market include the labor - intensive process, frequent slug problems, and that laying yards are situated in woodland areas, often far from normal farm routines.

Integration of meat ducks into the mushroom laying yard brings more yields for the farmer on a single trip, promotes effective slug control, and better utilizes forest ecosystems in the farm landscape. Ducks are an under appreciated farm asset with potential to sustainably manage pests while providing high-quality products for market. Little research has been done to demonstrate the potential of integrated duck farming in the Northeast.

SARE grant funds supported bringing 50 ducks into a 700-log commercial operation in 2012 and 2013, where efforts were focused on breed selection for temperament, foraging ability, and weight gain. In 2013, the operation increased to 1000 logs and the project focused on optimizing the system efficiency, forest improvement and profit. Throughout both seasons the mushroom yard, duck population, and forest ecosystem were monitored for health and productivity.
 
Cj Sloane
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I've started reading through this and came across this sentence:
...we became intrigued with the fact that a three-way relationship was emerging - a polyculture of a producer (sugar maple trees), consumer (ducks), and decomposer (mushrooms).


I'm not sure I agree with this. Thought a polyculture was more than 1 species growing in the same location. Maybe this question deserves it's own thread?
 
Peter Ellis
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Cj Verde wrote:I've started reading through this and came across this sentence:
...we became intrigued with the fact that a three-way relationship was emerging - a polyculture of a producer (sugar maple trees), consumer (ducks), and decomposer (mushrooms).


I'm not sure I agree with this. Thought a polyculture was more than 1 species growing in the same location. Maybe this question deserves it's own thread?


Seems to me like an appropriate use of the term. As I understand the abstract (have not had a chance to look at the full proposal/article yet), they are using ducks in with the mushroom logs - so there's two species in one space right there. I'm presuming that they located the mushroom logs in an area of sugar maples (based on the abstract, so if not true, well, why did they describe it that way?). That would be three species, at a minimum.

And what is significant with this operation is the synergy of the elements - and I think that is what polyculture is about, not just having a bunch of different things in one area, but different things that work together to produce a superior result.
 
Dan Tutor
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Cj Verde wrote:I've started reading through this and came across this sentence:
...we became intrigued with the fact that a three-way relationship was emerging - a polyculture of a producer (sugar maple trees), consumer (ducks), and decomposer (mushrooms).


I'm not sure I agree with this. Thought a polyculture was more than 1 species growing in the same location. Maybe this question deserves it's own thread?


I believe what they are describing is happening all at the same place. A canopy of sugar maples, over a shitake log yard, patrolled by ducks. It's even a little more symbiotic than some polycultures; the only human inputs are shitake spawn and supplemental duck food, the system supplies each species with what it needs by using by products (maple logs for shitake growing, from thinning and storms), waste products (duck poop as fertilizer for trees), and pests/bycatch (slugs, for ducks). In addition, duck eggs could also be harvested.
I intend on integrating this system into my shitake log yard this year! I've been very impressed and inspired by the northeast shitake growers BMP document from Cornell and UVM cooperative extensions. I'm pretty sure these shitake growers with the ducks were involved in both .
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